Tours and Detours Radio Show

Today I had a radio interview that will be taped in Istanbul but aired in Philadelphia sometime in November. The program is called “Tours and Detours” with Birtan Colliers. We talked about Turkish cuisine and the new food trends in Istanbul. Then my colleague talked about the natural and organic products of the company that we work at.

Before this interview, although it was taped and not live, to feed my hunger and kill my nervousness I had a wonderfully balanced and very filling fish soup at “Savoy Balık” in Cihangir. Keep in mind; during the weekdays for lunch they serve wonderful set menus consisting of a bowl of fish soup, mixed salad, seasonal fish of the day (either grilled or fried) and a glass of tea.

Kuru Fasulye – The Traditional Bean Stew

It’s raining cats and dogs in Istanbul, and this time I am determined to get a pair of plastic rain boots. My father and I met up after work and went to a store and got the most beautiful looking and comfortable plastic rain boots. It got really cold in the evening and I started to feel really hungry. My father suggested that since we were close to the “Fasuli” branch in Cerrahpaşa district, we should go for a plate of steaming “kuru fasulye” (White kidney bean stew) and a plate of rice pilaf cooked with butter.

As  soon as we entered into the tiny little shop we got rid of our wet rain coats and umbrellas and sat down for a hot bowl of black cabbage soup to start with, the famous soup of the Black Sea region accompanied by steaming corn bread, then we both devoured a bowl of white kidney bean stew and rice pilaf.


Meeting Colman Andrews

This year in April, I was in U.S.A., visiting four different cities to give lectures on history of Turkish cuisine, do cooking demonstrations and also attend Roger Smith Conference on Food Technology, where I gave a presentation on “Olive Oil Extraction Techniques used in Western Anatolia”.

At the end of my trip I paid a visit to my favorite shop Barnes and Noble, and looked through the newly published books to see if there would be anything that suited my interest. The only book that caught my eye was “My Usual Table” by Colman Andrews. I had never heard of him before but decided to buy the book because it looked interesting. I found out later that he was actually a big time food writer who was one of the people who started one of my favorite magazines, Saveur. I found the book to be very entertaining and informative and I really admired Colman Andrews and how he flourished in a career of food writing.

Day before yesterday I was working in the office when I received a call from my colleague at the restaurant. He told me that two Americans were asking for me. So I went to the restaurant and went to the table of the Americans who asked for me. As the gentleman at the table was introducing himself and telling me that his friend Anya von Bremzen told him to go dine at the restaurant I work at and ask for me, I recognized who he was. I was shaking the hand of Colman Andrews, whose book I recently finished reading. I got star struck. Frankly that is how I get when I meet a famous chef or a food writer. I told him that I had recently finished reading his book. He could not believe it. I guess he never thought that he would run into someone in Turkey who knew him, let alone read his book.

We chatted for a bit then I left him alone with his wife so they can enjoy their lunch without me hovering over the table. I stopped by their table once more to say goodbye before they left and we exchanged business cards. He was nice enough to tell me to let him know if I ever visit NYC.

I only wish that I had my book so that he could sign it!!!!

Yesterday was one of my friend’s birthday. To celebrate, a group of friends and I went to “Yeni Lokanta” one of the new additions to the Istanbul restaurant scene, owned and operated by one of my favorite chefs Civan Er. As soon as I entered the restaurant, to my surprise I say Mr. and Mrs. Andrews sitting at the bar and enjoying the food with a nice glass of wine. I approached them to say hi. They were also very surprised. We chatted about how their day was and where they went to eat. I also introduced them to Chef Civan which they really appreciated as they loved the food at the restaurant. Obviously I did not have my book again, as I had no idea that I would run into them.

The next night I went to Istiklal street in Beyoğlu with a mission in my mind. I had found out from Mr. Andrews that he was going to be dining at “Asmalı Cavit.” I found out from the restaurant manager that his reservations were at 20:30. I paid a visit to the restaurant at 21:00, and this time they were both surprised and happy to see me, as I held out my book and asked Mr. Andrews to sign it.

A three day adventure and a signature on my book by one of the most important people in the food world.


Kadıköy Dürümcü Emmi

It is one of those days and I am a tourist in Istanbul with my best friend. I wanted to go to the Asian side and take a walk on the shore road by Moda and then go to eat at a place that I have been hearing about for a long time.

We took the ferry to the Asian side, walked to the Moda seashore and sat on the rocks by the sea. It was so soothing and relaxing. We just sat there for almost an hour, just talking and enjoying the wonderful view of the sea. When we got hungry, my best friend took me to one of his favorite restaurants, “Dürümcü Emmi” to have their famous ‘paça çorbası’ (lamb trotters soup). However their recipe is quite different than a regular lamb trotters soup. This soup was made with lamb stock with pieces of ‘kavurma’ (sautéed small lamb chunks). We had the spicy version which was simply delicious and worked like a medicine against my runny nose.

This soup resembled the famous ‘beyran’ soup of Gaziantep region which is a popular breakfast soup that is known to give someone strength and keep them going all day long.